As with any dream, a dream of water may be symbolic, literal, or an experience of a separate reality. I have dreamed, over decades now, of being able to travel to the sea floor without any breathing problems and of encountering a Mother of the Deep and various other characters who seem to embody the elemental powers of the ocean. I have dreamed of healing in sacred pools, and delight in mermaid coves, and the kind of inundation that brings fresh new growth bursting into the world.
I have also noticed that some of our dreams of water may be both literal and symbolic. We dream of a tsunami or a hurricane – and that event turns out to be both a natural event that is played out in the world and a terrific emotional storm that blows up in our personal lives.
How water moves or fails to move in dreams is a very important source of guidance to me on the state of my body and my creative energy. Clogged pipes and logjams – in physical reality as well as in night dreams – alert me to the need to do some clearing and free up energy that needs to be in flow.
Water transforms, and it goes through its own transformations, from vapor to liquid to solid and back through the sequence. We come from the water, and our bodies are mostly composed of seawater. Our dreams may open us to the teachings of water: to flow rather than to push, to stream round an obstacle rather than charge it head on.
In one of my playshops, a scientist from Virginia shared a wonderful dream in which he plunges deep into the ocean and then up into space, doing the butterfly stroke, repeating the motions until he is circling the planet. We didn’t analyse this dream. We plunged into it and enjoyed its energy. With the dreamer’s permission and the aid of shamanic drumming, our whole circle accompanied him back into his dream in a marvelous adventure in group lucid dreaming. Some of us met creatures of the deep beyond those chronicled in National Geographic, with mutual respect. Some joined dolphin pods. I enjoyed skimming the Pacific, in waters around my native Australia.
Shark Rock at Shi Shi Beach, Washington by Karolyn McKinley